Ripples Nigeria - The two major parties in the country and by extension, Edo State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are perfecting strategies to win the governorship contest in that state scheduled for September 10.
Outgoing Governor Adam Oshiomhole is fighting forces within the two major parties to install his preferred successor.
Within the APC, many of his aides are kicking against his preference for Godwin Obaseki, the Head of the State’s Economic Team.
He is also fighting his Deputy, Dr Pius Odubu, who has also indicated interest in the race and has succeeded in mobilising some serving aides against the Comrade-Governor.
But Oshiomhole’s headache is not just within the APC. He is also interested in whoever will pick the ticket of the PDP.
His obsession with the PDP, according to investigations, is to ensure the party does not pick a formidable candidate who can rally round disgruntled elements in the APC and convince voters against the ruling APC.
Oshiomhole, according to close aides, is determined to push through the Obaseki’s candidature at the primary by all means.
While there are unconfirmed allegations that he has doctored the delegates’ list, Oshiomhole is also bent on inducing delegates to pick Obaseki ahead of others.
Other candidates in the APC include: Chris Ogiemwonyi, a former Minister of State for Works under former President Jonathan; a lawyer and philanthropist, Kenneth Imansuangbon; Major General Charles Airhiavbere, former PDP governorship candidate in 2012; Deputy Governor Pius Odubu and Nollywood pioneer, Don Obaseki.
All of them are said to be tinkering with forming a clique against the alleged plans to impose Obaseki by Oshiomhole and the party’s apparatus.
So, the governor’s first battle is to see through the emergence of Obaseki and calm frayed nerves to avoid the PDP benefitting from the conflict of succession.
Within the PDP, most forces are mobilising for former Secretary to the State Government (SSG) under Lucky Igbinedion, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
Ize-Iyamu, who left the APC last year after falling out with Oshiomhole, is a formidable grassroots politician with a wide network across the state.
The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Pastor, according to investigations, is the only candidate Oshiomhole is desperate must not emerge from the PDP.
Others in the race within the PDP are: Chief Solomon Edebiri, Hon. Matthew Iduoriyekemwen and Earl Osaro Onaiwu.
This is why the governor has reportedly planted moles within the PDP to frustrate the emergence of Ize-Iyamu, who is believed to have sufficient resources and goodwill to give Obaseki a run.
Oshiomhole, according to sources, has reached out to renegades within the PDP to stop Ize-Iyamu at all costs, a development that is causing ripples within the opposition party.
Ize-Iyamu’s major opponent is Iduoriyekemwen, former Majority Leader of Edo Assembly and a former Edo representative in Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
His ambition is said to have the backing of former Minister of Works, Architect Mike Onolemenmen.
Iduoriyekemwen is seen as a loyal party member having been in the PDP since 1999. But some say he is not fit to govern Edo, a position his supporters contend as untenable having served as a Majority Leader.
Will the Comrade-Governor succeed in appeasing other candidates within the APC to support the candidacy of Obaseki?
Will Obaseki wave the olive branch to aggrieved opponents should he win the race?
Will the plot to stop Ize-Iyamu from being PDP’s standard bearer succeed?
Will Edo voters buy the person of Obaseki and choose him above whoever PDP presents?
The answers will be provided on September 10.
Credit: Ripples Nigeria